Friday, September 28, 2007

Appearances

You know all those oriental Classics like Sun Tzu, Munenori Yagyu and, yes, even Musashi. They all wrote in their books about how to apply appearances in strategy. In Heiho Kadensho we have this long and short sword story, Sun Tzu writes that all warfare is based on deception, and so on...

And sometimes even such diligent student of strategy as myself get mislead...

A couple of years back I was roaming in London for several months. And there was this thing, that looked like a dry-cleaner's reception point. And it turned out to be the best chinese food in town. I used to hang out with this friend of mine, who knew the very rich and expensive and top-quality London. And she took a bunch of us to this place. That was funny.

Now, why this post? Well, there's this computer store in my hometown , in Wroclaw, that I always thought was a cover of some money-laundry business. Their prices were really up to one third lower then even what was available on the Net. There was no way it was a legit business. I always thought that if you went to the back room there'd be small chinese women packing white powder into small plastic bags, or huge multi-function printers spitting out 100 dollar bills... On top of that all the folks behind the counter were always huge, young guys who looked hardly literate (not to mention computer savvy). Yet yesterday I saw a huge ad of this shop on a tram. Well, unless you're really ballsy (and I mean really ballsy) you do not go public with illegitimate stuff. And those guys surfaced big time. Therefore, after all, the guys run a legit company!

As my teacher says - things are not what they seem, but they're not otherwise either... Oh well, whatever ;-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We've got a winner

Most of DoD projects start with - say - half a bln US$ budget and end up with 2,5 bln US$ and two-year delay. Take a look at Seawolf class subs - they turned out to be so expensive that Pentagon OK'ed only 3 vessels. Next class - Virginia - is much less capable (in spite of DoD's propaganda) and much cheaper. Same can be told of DDX and other programs.

Therefore it was very surprising for me when I found that one project, that not only did fit within budget but also within scheduled timeframe as well as... requirements. It even exceeded predefined requirements!

What I am talking about is EA-18G Growler - Electronic Warfare version of FA-18F Super Hornet platform. Read more here.

I do not think this is a beginning of a new trend, but who knows? You never know...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

M$ sux...

Well, I work for one of those mega-corporations, that makes everything, starting from submarine engines, through telecommunication equipment and up to home appliances like espresso machines. And this company of mine has its own Intranet with huge set of tools and procedures and stuff. Phooey! But you get the picture - corporation...
I already have blogged about my new notebook - whatta junk... But the point is - it came with factory installed M$ Vista Business . And my wonderful corporation, in its grace, took this new notebook and removed Vista and installed XP. Don't ask me.
Yet... I had this Vista installation DVD so I took my old Vaio and put it to the test with this new OS from Redmond. And it is... Gorgeous. I mean, really, all that bells and whistles make it really beautiful. But the longer I play with it the more it sux. The UI is too cluttered with all that eye-candy and, unfortunately, most of it can't be switched off. Yuck... I will play with it for a while but I know I will be installing Fedora within week or two...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who really needs IN*?

See, I work with IN cluster platforms, these are huge servers providing all sorts of intelligent services for telecommunication networks service subscribers. And these machines (usually Sun) have like up to 32 CPUs, 24 GB of RAM per node, etc. Really huge, expensive stuff.
Now look here at what the guys did for less than a grand...

*IN - Intelligent Networks, as opposed to stupid core network ;-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mind-readers...

Some of you may know me well enough to.. well, to know that my dream job would be developing car avionics. You know - in modern jet fighter airplanes we have these MFDs*, and I just thought that the same principle could be applied to cars.
It was a couple of years ago (my final years at Technical University) that I dreamed about having this small customization company that would integrate this approach into modern cars. Imagine a car that has one huge, high quality digital display instead of all of those speed and rpm dials, temp meters and fuel gauges. Replace all that with one display that may be customized to display whatever driver wants and however driver wants. If you want digital speed indication you get just 122 kmph. If you want analogue you get beautiful circular dials. And since it would run on some Linux derivative you could implement 3D, custom skins, etc. Fun!
Additionally this is not that difficult to integrate. Modern cars have all sorts of digital sensors that provide all that info to central computer - all we need to do is to extract it and present in user-friendly way ;-)

Of course next step would be to use HUD** as they use in F18F, that could prove to be more challenging...

Yet there is this one company, that constantly reads my mind and steals my ideas. During recent Frankfurt show Lamborghini presented a car named Reventón with customizable dashboard.

Why don't I do that? Well, for starters I ain't got - correction, my friend tole me that's bad English - I don't have half of million of dollars for starting.

* MFD - Multi Function Display
** HUD - Heau-Up Display

Small change*

Decided to carry on the blog in English. Have some friends abroad and I do indulge myself with this belief that sometimes they'd visit my blog...

*Nie mylić z drobnymi miedziakami w prawej tylnej kieszeni dżinsów ;-)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stereotypy

Jak byłem mały to znałem wierszyki o murzynku Bambo, oglądałem filmy o afrykańskich sawannach (na jeszcze czarno-białym telewizorze) i czytałem Tomka na czarnym lądzie (nie mówiąc już o oglądaniu serialu Z kamerą wśród zwierząt). Tak więc jakoś wymodelowałem sobie obraz Afryki równikowej, gdzie jest naprawdę gorąco, dżungla, ogromne pytony i dzikie zwierzęta. No dobra - lwy, żyrafy i słonie znalazłem (vide zdjęcia - wszystko zgodnie z moim modelem Afryki), ale gdzie to palące słońce? Od tygodnia jest po prostu zimno! Pada deszcz i zdziwiłbym się, jakby temperatura była powyżej 15C. Przyznaję, Nairobi leży na wysokości około 1700 mnpm. Ale, psiakrew, to jest równik, prawie równonoc jesienna! A ja marznę... Mimo, że wziąłem porządny sweterek.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weekend w Kenii

Wyskoczyliśmy z Adamem z Nairobi i na weekend pojechaliśmy na małe safari do Masai Mara.

Fotki nie powalają, generalnie kiepsko się współpracowało z kierowcą, nie ma to jak wypady z Wojtkiem. Mimo to wrzuciłem na Picasa, są tutaj.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

African dreams...

Siedzimy sobie z Adamem w saunie w Holiday Inn w Nairobi a tu przysiadł się do nas ogromny murzyn i zagaduje nas o geopolityce. No OK, możemy pogadać o uzbrojeniu Związku Radzieckiego w późnych latach siedemdziesiątych. I tak od słowa do słowa... Okazuje się, że Patryk (tak ma na imię) jest wojskowym, oficerem łączności.

Oficerem łączności my ass - szpieg jak się patrzy. Miło się rozmawiało, nie zwerbował nas, my jego też nie...

Ale ja nie o tym. Pożegnaliśmy się z czarnym oficerem czarnego wywiadu i poszliśmy na drinka, kontynuując dyskusje polityczno-militarne. I tak mnie wzięło na wspomnienia... Rozmarzyłem się trochę i chciałbym opowiedzieć o moich ulubionych bombowcach hamerykańskich.

Na początku byli bracia Horten (nie amerykanie, o nich za chwilę), ze swoim Ho229

A największy czad, że oni naprawde coś takiego zrobili, i to latało! Więcej tutaj i tutaj.

A potem już wkracza na scenę pan Northrop ze swoimi skrzydłami. W 1946 zrobił coś takiego

XB35. Co ciekawe, doszło już do seryjnej produkcji tego samolotu, już nie XB (X=experymentalny) ale YB-35 (Y-przedprodukcyjny). Niestety pan Northrop nie dostał kontraktu z Pentagonu, mimo to parę lat później popełnił coś takiego:

Fajne, nie? To już XB49, odrzutowy. Więcej tu albo tu.

Potem było długo, długo nic aż w końcu USAF przyznało się, że ma B2. w W sieci jest dużo na temat B2, wystarczy zaguglać i pojawią się miriardy stron.

Ale teraz dochodzimy do sedna - czy w ręce pana Northropa wpadły papiery braci Horten i po prosty pociągnął on dalej ich wizję, czy też niezależnie od nikogo sam stworzył te konstrukcje? Wiadomo, że pod koniec wojny OSS złupiło całe poniemieckie know-how, włącznie z dr. Braunem i jego V1 i V2. Więc pytanie (mimo, że retoryczne) nie jest pozbawione sensu...